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Employees At San Antonio Gay Bar Brutally Attacked In Apparent Hate Crime: VIDEO

SA

Two employees at a popular San Antonio gay bar were brutally attacked in an apparent hate crime as they left work early Wednesday. 

SaintDaniel Ramos, an employee at the Saint Nightclub, said two men pulled up in a black Silverado and asked for jumper cables. When Ramos' co-worker turned his back to look for the jumper cables, the men attacked him. From Fox 29

"Random guys asking for our help, we were willing to help them, but then all of a sudden, it was an attack,” Ramos said.

He said the guys started punching his friend.

"I heard the commotion and went around to try to help, got hit in the face by the second guy,” Ramos explained. “Fortunately, I only got hit once. Nothing as extreme as my friend."

The friend did not want to be identified, but he told us the attackers yelled gay slurs while they pounded on them. Ramos believes his sexual orientation is the reason behind the beating.

Ramos suffered a gash below his left eye, and his co-worker reportedly was admitted to a trauma unit. 

The attack was caught on surveillance video, but the suspects are still at large and San Antonio police haven't indicated whether they're treating the incident as an anti-gay hate crime: 

"I come to work thinking that it's a gay establishment, I'm a gay individual, my boss is gay, I'm supposed to feel safe,” Ramos said. ... 

"I've never, never been assaulted this way,” he said. “Stuff like this really needs to stop. It really does."

Watch Fox 29's report, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Employees At San Antonio Gay Bar Brutally Attacked In Apparent Hate Crime: VIDEO" »


Gay-Friendly Corporations Refuse To Come Out Against 'License To Discriminate' Bills In Texas

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Eight companies with perfect scores on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index have contributed money to the campaign of Texas Republican Sen. Donna Campbell (above right), the author of legislation that seeks to enshrine a "license to discriminate" in the state Constituion. 

But none of these otherwise gay-friendly companies have come out in opposition to SJR 10, which Campbell filed early last month.

The Texas Observer reports: 

“SJR 10 is one of thousands of bills filed, we will weigh in and comment on bills when and if they are scheduled for hearing,” said Mona Taylor, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based AT&T Inc., which contributed $5,000 to Campbell’s campaign through its PAC this year.

Other companies with perfect HRC scores that have contributed to Campbell’s campaign in the last year include General Motors Co. ($2,500), Citigroup Inc. ($1,500), UnitedHealth Group Inc. ($,1000), the Raytheon Co. ($1,000), Merck & Co. ($1,000), Genentech Inc. ($750) and Astellas Pharma Inc. ($500).

On Monday, Plano added itself to the list of cities in Texas that have passed ordinances banning anti-LGBT discrimination. Two days later, state Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas (above left), filed a House version of Campbell's "license to discriminate" bill — and another lawmaker is threatening to introduce a similar measure, The Observer reports. 
 
Experts say the legislation would severely limit cities' ability to enforce nondiscrimination ordinances, since any business owner could claim an exemption if they have "a sincerely held religious belief." But the unintended consequences of the constitutional amendment could be far worse, according to Equality Texas' Daniel Williams.
 
Texas already has a statute, known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, that provides strong protections for religious freedom. But the proposed amendments would supplant the RFRA and go much further, overriding the statute's exceptions for things like zoning regulations and civil rights laws, according to The Observer
 

“A church or a synagogue or a mosque could conceivably be built anywhere with no concern to traffic flow or how much parking is available or building codes,” Williams said. “There are butchers that butcher in accordance with very specific religious laws, and they’re able to do that, but the city and the state enforce environmental protections that ensure we don’t wind up with giant ponds of blood in residential neighborhoods. If you take away the ability of cities to enforce those, it’s going to have an enormous negative impact on the quality of life for everyone in that area.”

Williams said Campbell has introduced similar measures in three previous legislative sessions. Given the senator's penchant for seeking to enshrine a "license to discriminate" in the state Constitution, the companies' campaign contributions could reasonably be interpreted as an endorsement of the legislation — at least until they publicly state otherwise. 


Three Lesbians Released After Spending 14 Years in Jail on Wrongful Molestation Conviction: VIDEO

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Three lesbians who were among four wrongfully convicted of molestation in 1998 were released today after spending nearly 15 years in prison, the HuffPost reports:

In 1994, Elizabeth Ramirez, then 20, was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, for allegedly molesting her two young nieces, aged 7 and 9.

In two bizarre trials, she and three other women, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh and Anna Vasquez, all lesbians, were accused of repeatedly assaulting the girls during a nightmarish week-long orgy in 1994. A medical expert and the prosecutor hinted that the women had been performing a Satanic ritual, and pointed to what they claimed was scientific evidence of their guilt. A judge sent the women to prison -- 35 years for Ramirez, 15 for each of the others.

For more than a decade, the women sought the attention of advocates for prisoners and of the press, insisting that they had been falsely accused, but their calls for help went unanswered. And then, in 2006, a Canadian college instructor named Darrell Otto began researching the case. Otto became convinced that the women were innocent and reached out to the National Center for Reason and Justice, a New York-based organization that pushes for the release of those believed to be wrongly accused of crimes against children. He set in motion an effort to free the women that has finally culminated in victory.

KENS5 adds:

The women have claimed their innocence since the conviction and have worked to clear their names.  They were convicted based upon expert medical testimony that prosecutors and the women's attorney now agree wouldn't stand in court today. Elizabeth Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh and Cassandra Rivera have sat in prison for almost 15 years.

Anna Vasquez, one of "The San Antonio 4" who spent 13 years in jail and was paroled in 2012 sat down with KENS 5 for an interview.

"We were charged and convicted and I was still in doubt," said Vasquez, 37.  I could not believe that this has happened." The four were only teens when they went to jail.  

"It's a huge injustice to us we had many years taken away from us," said Vasquez.  "I was angry I would say I was in shock, disbelief," she said.

Watch a video of their release, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Three Lesbians Released After Spending 14 Years in Jail on Wrongful Molestation Conviction: VIDEO" »


Federal Lawsuit Filed in Texas Challenging State's Gay Marriage Ban

Two gay couples have filed suit in Texas challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage, the San Antonio Express News reports:

ChasnoffA federal lawsuit was filed Monday challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage, and it seeks a court order barring Texas officials from enforcing it.

“In Texas, Plaintiffs cannot legally marry their partner before family, friends, and society — a right enjoyed by citizens who wish to marry a person of the opposite sex. And should they become married in a state that has established marriage equality, Texas explicitly voids their marriage,” said the suit, filed in San Antonio by attorney Barry Chasnoff (pictured) of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. “There is no rational basis, much less a compelling government purpose, for Texas to deny plaintiffs the same right to marry enjoyed by the majority of society.”

The suit names as plaintiffs two same-sex couples, Mark Pharris and Vic Holmes and Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman, but makes it clear the litigation is pursuing rights for a larger group of people in similar situations.


San Antonio Judge Leaves GOP in Blistering Video Denouncing Party's Anti-Gay Extremism: VIDEO

Key

Bexar, Texas County Criminal Court Judge Carlo Key has switched parties in a video announcing he's seeking reelection as a Democrat, Think Progress reports.

ChanKey's decision to leave the Republican party is due to the GOP's anti-LGBT hate speech and calls it a party "at war with itself."

Says Key:

I can no longer be a member of the Republican Party. For too long, the Republican Party has been at war with itself. Rational Republican beliefs have given way to ideological character assassinations. Pragmatism and principal have been overtaken by pettiness and bigotry. Make no mistake: I have not left the Republican Party. It left me. I cannot tolerate a political party that demeans Texans based on their sexual orientation, the color of their skin or their economic status. I will not be a member of a Party in which hate speech elevates candidates for higher office rather than disqualifying them. I cannot place my name on the ballot for a political party that is proud to destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of federal workers over the vain attempt to repeal a law that would provide health care to millions of people throughout our country.

Key also cites San Antonio Councilwoman Elisa Chan who called gays "disgusting" in the run-up to the city's passage of an LGBT non-discrimination bill, and blasts Republicans for shutting down the government over health care reform.

Watch Key's powerful video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "San Antonio Judge Leaves GOP in Blistering Video Denouncing Party's Anti-Gay Extremism: VIDEO" »


Anti-Gay San Antonio Councilwoman Elisa Chan Resigns, Announces Bid For State Senate

Elisa Chan

Elisa Chan, the San Antonio Councilwoman who made headlines back in August for her recorded anti-gay comments in which she called gays 'disgusting' and unfit to be parents, submitted her letter of resignation Monday in order to seek higher office. The San Antonio Express-News reports:

Her last day as District 9 councilwoman is Oct. 18, said her campaign spokesman, Craig Murphy. State law requires that she resign from council in order to file as a state candidate, and the filing period for candidates is Nov. 9-Dec. 9.

Last month, Chan, 47, said she would challenge incumbent tea party Republican Donna Campbell to represent Senate District 25.

In a letter to Mayor Julián Castro and council members, Chan said she was proud of San Antonio and "what we have accomplished." She reflected on her five years on council, saying:

"I have done my best to represent the conservative values of these fine people. The people of this district take an active role in deciding policy, giving their input, volunteering their time and listening to the views of their neighbors," she wrote.

 Gay neighbors excluded of course. 


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